You are not damaged goods. You are not your failed attempts at success. You are not your mistakes. You are your lessons learned. You are your victories on your way to success. You are the strength because of your obstacle.

One thing I've learned is not to make something your everything, because when it's gone, who are you? I used to think that without love, I was nothing. Now I know I am whole, even without someone. I used to think that without fitness, I wasn't enough. I thought running was my euphoria, but now I know I am my source of happiness.

There are many things we don't have control over, like a freak snowstorm on the first day of spring, or getting a flat tire. Those are things that are out of our hands, but we have the power to control how we respond to unexpected events. I'm not saying to live life with rose-colored glasses, but understand that there is good in every situation, even if you don't think it.

It's easy to get angry, to resent, or loathe the obstacle you are faced with. When you are feeling hopeless, defeated, and discouraged, find the light.

You are in a tunnel right now, and you can choose to close your eyes and be swallowed by darkness and fall to your knees. Or, you can fixate on the way out, that light that is so far away, but it is there.

It's dim and hazy, but it is at the end waiting for you. It is cheering you on. There is an opening, and there is a way to escape. You have to believe that you can get out. Your perspective is everything.

It's tempting to neglect all your responsibilities and wallow in your sorrows. Laying in bed all day seems like the only way to feel better. That's the simple way to deal with your problems. But getting up, putting on your favorite outfit, brewing a great cup of coffee and putting your best foot forward is difficult.

It feels intricate, maybe even pointless. You may have a million reasons to stay in that tunnel. Show the world one reason to come out on the other side. Come out with a smile brighter than ever before.

Nothing will ever be taken from you without being replaced by something extravagant, which is exactly why it is crucial not to define yourself by what you have. It can be taken away from you at any given moment. Know that you are who you are, based on the things that you have learned and things you've grown through.

You are not a number on a scale because you finally reached your goal weight. Instead, you are a strong-willed, determined, healthier person because you learned to persevere. You are not your 3.8 GPA; you are an intelligent, hard-working, dedicated student who earned their grades.

You are not your end results; you are the process along the way. You are the things that shaped you into who you are now. You are the way you approach your problems. You are the way you choose to respond to unfortunate life events.

Take the necessary time to let it all out. Cry in the shower. Throw a tantrum. Feel bad for yourself. Be mad. Then stop. Take a deep breath. Know that you are still strong. You are still resilient. Brush yourself off, and keep going.

You may not be in control, but you have the power to make nectarous lemonade out of the most tart lemons.

Small steps every day, and one step closer to that light. One day wiser. Another lesson learned. Once you reach that light, I hope you never turn back.

Become the light. Become someone else's reason to persist. Show the world that it may challenge you and try to tear you to pieces, but it will never shatter you. There is something to live for, so find it and run with it.

Yes, the journey to the other end is daunting but worthwhile. Don't wait another day to change your outlook on life. Start now, start at this very moment.

Gloves on, fists up. Don't let life knock you out.